Friday, July 29, 2011

Surprising reaction...

So, I've never been secretive about my anxiety as it relates to BM visits. In the beginning it was a lot because I just didn't know what to expect and then the second visit I had gotten all my crap together and decided to be more bold and now as I was staring down the barrel of visit number three I was feeling, surprisingly upbeat. I had a plan. We were going to discuss the frequency of my email updates and photos, would she rather me send physical photos in the mail? Is she satisfied with the "openness" of our agreement? I also was fiddling with the idea of asking her about her parents. Keep it light, and mainly focus on personality traits etc. nothing crazy. I had orchestrated the date and time with both social workers and we decided on Tuesday at 1:30. Well...too bad so sad, the visit isn't goin' down. As it turns out BM's foster family is all going on vacation for 10 days which happen to be the 10 days that I'm in town. It's strange how that went down, but mostly my reaction was strange to me. I was genuinely disappointed. I was so prepared to make more progress and develop this little nuance of life. I'm proud of myself and my disappointment. At the end of the day it's about Emery and the relationship that she'll have with her birth mom and the one thing I always tell myself when I start to get all wonky about our "arrangement" is that I never ever want to get in the way of what could potentially happen between BM and Emery. I don't want that on my shoulders, she deserves to know her. She deserves to know the woman (well, technically girl) who selflessly made the toughest decision of her life all for Emery. If you think about that, it's pretty unbelievable. So I guess I've grown in my expectations of this wild ride, and I've become attached to the girl who gave me my little lovey. BM deserves exactly what Emery has. A family who is willing to take the plunge to take her home and love her as their own.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love affair...

Bonding is an interesting thing. Given the way most adoptions take place, the pressure of bonding with your new baby/toddler/elementary aged child I believe takes a huge toll on the newly adoptive parents. Everyone has their own way of trying to create that bond, some do the cocooning method where only the adoptive parents hold/change/feed the child in an effort to instill a genuine security within the child. It makes total sense to me, especially if the child has been in an orphanage for years and is used to multiple caretakers that institutionalized care provides. Had Emery's circumstances been different we probably would have adopted that method and while it would have been hard to not allow any additional bonding to take place between grandparents, aunts and uncles it would have benefited OUR situation undeniably. When we first brought her home I was terrified, nervous, and afraid that I wouldn't bond with her. I seriously probably only ate a combined total of like three meals the first four days just because my stomach was in knots! I think the double edged sword for me was that I didn't have anything to compare it to, I hadn't been a mama to a biological child let alone an adopted child. Which left me with feelings of extreme inadequacy and complete terror that this little being and I would never truly attach to one another...instead living life more like a nanny and the "nannied'. People would say to me..."Is it just the most wonderful thing ever? Being a mother?" and I would just nod my head and agree with them all the while inside being tortured by the fact that while it was fantastic there were still times when I didn't love it. Times when my selfishness prevailed and I wanted to sleep in, not have barf on my shirt and just go to the flippin' grocery store without it taking me one million years to get in and out of the car AND doggonit I forgot that diaper bag again. SO if I'm being completely honest, which I generally don't struggle with, I would say its taken me months to bond with Emery. It definitely didn't help that she is not a very cuddly child either, when they're at an age of being completely non-verbal I found myself looking for signs (smiles, moving towards me etc.) to reassure me that she viewed me as "mama". There were little breakthroughs here and there and someone even told me that a friend of hers indicated she had a bonding breakthrough when her child became very sick once and the worry and concern for her well being took over and from them on they were bonded. Well my friends, these last two months as full time stay at home mom, by default have been the love affair I've been praying for. The way she is around me is completely different than with anyone else, and I simply can't get enough. She looks for me when she's hurt and crawls toward me for comfort and also looks for my approval. She likes being close to me, touching me and loves my hugs and kisses. We have an understanding. Finally. I protect her, nurture her, and comfort her and...she lets me. These moments with my first born are immeasurable. I never once doubted that she knew I was her mama, it was only getting to this point. The point that our love affair with each other truly began. The adventures I've had thus far with my little lovey are the most fulfilling of anything in my entire existence.
I've said this before and I'll say it again...she's pure magic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 years...

Twas a whirlwind...the story of how I met my love. He was the older, cooler, upperclassman who worked in my dorm and shared a class with me. I was dazzled by his ridiculous jokes and his musical abilities. He told his mom prior to us meeting to not be surprised if he just came home one day and said "I met the girl I'm going to marry". Rewind to Christmas of 2000...Kent Hall. I was walking with my sister to meet a friend of hers in order to exchange some info about a trip we were taking. Enter Tyler and friend, he was chomping on beef jerky and my sister introduces us. Then he asked the question to end all questions, the one he probably asked all the girls he was interested in..."You want some beef jerky?" Me: "Uhhh no thanks" Tyler: "Ok, more for me". HAHAHA! That was it, love at first sight. Just kidding, but I did think about him just about every day after that. I tried to find reasons to go to the info desk in the dorm where he worked and then would find myself spending a couple hours there with him just chatting. The only problem was that it was nearing the end of the Spring semester, which meant summer time in Florida for me and summer time in Indiana for him. Boo. During the summer we chatted on the phone, wrote letters to each other and emailed as well but it wasn't until 7/13/2001 that we actually started dating, and coincidentally talked about our wedding. He asked to hold my hand...and unlike the beef jerky question I obliged him. We knew a couple months before that we were in love with each other and that we'd get married but there was the one little issue of (we hadn't told EACH OTHER that yet). Fast forward to that Thanksgiving when he proposed at the Winona Lake Amphitheater amidst white Christmas lights, roses and was beautiful. Fast forward to April 27th, 2002 and we were "officially" joined at the hip, starting out our life together and surprise surprise moving to Florida. We've been through a lot. Multiple moves, career changes, graduate school, financial strain, church planting, starting a family...and there is one thing I know is true. He is in fact just as as smart, just as funny, just as thoughtful and amazing as he was before we started dating. I'll tell you what he's more of...he's more of a man. He's more of a leader. He's more amazing as a father than I could have ever dreamed. He's more committed to this life of ours and he's more my friend than I thought was humanly possible. The deepest, darkest, ugliest parts of me don't scare him at all. I can only hope that one day our girl has this much of an amazing opportunity to be with the man she loves. I know that Tyler will teach her what that love is like. So ten years later and not at all like I thought it would be, I'm happy with the man God chose for me and I wouldn't trade it for the world even if his first words to me were related to over processed beef sticks.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Medium...

I process things very particularly...I don't get stressed easy and when I finally reach my breaking point I'm a sobbing, ugly cry face mess and poor Tyler is left wondering WHAT THE HECK?! These last few months have been rough, but good. Challenging and stretching us Tyler Z's into who He needs us to be to accomplish whatever it is we are supposed to accomplish. Which brings me to a very interesting self discovery in the last couple weeks and that is I don't want to appear as if I "have it all together", I just want to "keep it all together". There's nothing more obnoxious than people who pretend their poo don't stink and it doesn't help anyone out if someone can't discuss their struggles. I've never been one to really care what people think about me, there are times where a false impression yields its way to some hurt feelings but overall "having it all together" is not on my list of top priorities. It would be exhausting I'm assuming. Then again I set a very unrealistic expectation on myself and that is..."keeping it together". Not letting others see my hurt, or confusion or my tears. Not because of what people would think about me, but because of what I think of myself. It's a challenge I give myself and I'm beginning to realize it's sorta detrimental! With all the emotions we've faced over the last few months there have been times where my mantra has been, "Don't cry Kari, just move forward. It's not worth it." I don't have any fantastic conclusion on this right now, it's still something I'm working through and hopefully on the other side things will make a little more sense and I won't continually be the master of emotionally stunting myself. The good thing is, I love my friends up here. NONE of them pretend, none of them care about the way they look or behave in front of me and I wouldn't trade that for the world. Meanwhile in our transition, I'm enjoying the time I have with them...getting reacquainted and everyone of us talking about our proverbial "smelly poo".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Its been a long time coming...

Sorry for the long hiatus...things are weird and changing and unsettled so it makes for a little writers block. I'd like to preface this post with the following warning...its taken me a very long time to be able to write this post and not be angry. A lot of tears were spilled. But our broken hearts are healing through prayer and the hope that God will be honored through this transition time. I generally don't post a lot of non-adoption things on here but this is taking center stage in our lives right now.
If you had asked me a year ago where we'd be, it wouldn't be here and not because we hated it but because we believed in our NewSpring church plant dream. We believed that people would begin to truly commit time, money and energy into building God's kingdom. We believed that people would take seriously what the Bible says about being in the world but not OF the world. I believed in Tyler and Kirt's passion to bring the people of Oviedo and surrounding areas to church and change lives through it. There has not been a harder time in our life than mid March 2011. To watch a dream fade completely away was gut wrenching and I don't think anyone besides Tyler, Kirt & fam, and the very few committed volunteers that we had will ever truly understand how badly we needed THEM to make it work. How badly we needed genuine commitment to make our dream, what we truly believed was God's dream, a reality. Many have reached out to us providing true encouragement and support. Many have not. I am married to a man who has a true desire to see people come to know Jesus. He has a true desire to reach people via the local church and also to renovate the way the local church is perceived by the community. He is still looking for a worship leader job, we are still praying for God's clear direction in our life right now and He's providing little snippets that keep us on our toes. So if you've been wondering what happened to NewSpring, the truth is it's what DIDN'T happen at NewSpring. If you're going to a church that's looking for volunteers PLEASE volunteer. If you're wondering how you can be involved all you have to do is ask. Commit to going every Sunday, commit to worshipping throughout the week with your actions and time spent in the Word. Commit to giving your tithe, that is so important. Your pastor has a family too, just like you and as a believer giving 10% of what you make back to your local church is so important and so unbelievably rewarding. If you're looking for a scandal there wasn't one. Only a dream and desire from two Godly men wanting to reach Oviedo for Jesus through a church plant called NewSpring, and the hard decision to close it down because we just didn't have the right people to make it work. So we move on to our new jobs, and new states, not depressed because it didn't work out, not angry or jaded but excited because we know that there is something amazing on the horizon for us...if only we trust because He can do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.